By Craig Harper
For the Courier
AURORA — The Ken-Caryl Little League 9-10 all-stars learned the hard way that momentum can be capricious. One day it’s there, the next it’s vanished.
Jason Novotny’s squad had it after beating High Plains 13-3 in its District 5 tournament opener on July 12, but lost it before it even got to bat in its next game the following day. Cherry Creek doomed KCLL with five runs on two singles, three walks, two wild pitches and a hit batsman in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 13-1 victory in five innings. Cherry Creek starter Brandon Biaesch allowed five hits, while striking out six in 4 1/3 innings to deter any KCLL comeback hopes.
“It was just a momentum-changer,” Novotny said of the top of the first. “They really didn’t do much after that. It was all about momentum. You have 10-year-olds that once they get down by five runs they just kind of shut down. There were mistakes on our end, but we just couldn’t get the bats going and get a rally started. Really, that was all it came down to.”
“I want to see us climb back through the losers’ bracket and make it back to that championship game,” added Novotny, whose squad’s next game was July 15 at the Mission Viejo Fields in Aurora. Results of that game weren’t available at press time. “Hopefully, we can get back there and show the area what Ken-Caryl baseball’s all about.”
The latter statement was a reference to Novotny’s team being KCLL’s lone remaining representative in the three divisions. Its Major League squad and 10-11 team has already been eliminated from district play.
“Cherry Creek’s a good team,” Novotny said. “They came out hitting strong. They got the momentum on us and that just kind of shut the boys down. There were mistakes on our end, but we just couldn’t get the bats going and get a rally started. Really that was all it came down to.”
KCLL starter Carl Dixon, who did not pitch in the opener, struggled with his control facing 10 batters in the first, plating the final two runs with wild pitches. A wild pitch and passed ball scored two more off reliever Drew Lawler in the second.
Dixon, though, was KCLL’s bright spot on offense, going 2-for-2 including a run-scoring single in the third that scored Daniel Blatter, who had singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
“He’s a difference-maker on our team, for sure,” Novotny said of Dixon. “Today wasn’t his day on the mound. Carl’s usually a really strong pitcher, too. That was his first time pitching in the tournament. And we’ve never pitched from the mounds before. It’s a lot more pressure. It’s a different setting.”